How to Use RUSDLT Grant Program Funds

The rise of COVID-19 highlighted the disadvantage some communities have compared to others when providing distance learning and telemedicine. The RUSDLT Grant program is just one effective solution for this. Some may not be familiar with these funds or ways to use RUSDLT Grant program funds.

Together, let’s look at RUSDLT Grant program funds and how to use them in the most appropriate and beneficial ways.


Quick Links

  1. What is a RUSDLT Grant?
  2. How to Use RUSDLT Grant Funds?
  3. Broadband Transmission Facilities
  4. Audio, Visual, and Interactive Video Equipment
  5. Terminal and Data Terminal Equipment
  6. Computer Hardware and Software



What is a RUSDLT Grant?

For those unfamiliar, RUSDLT Grant stands for the Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant. They are funds specifically designed to increase access to education, training, and healthcare resources for businesses, organizations, and institutions in rural America.

It enables those who face challenges like low population density and remoteness to use the allocated funds to leverage telecommunications’ unique capabilities. Further still, it allows the affected communities to connect, which opens the door for them to gain access to support that may otherwise be unobtainable in rural areas.

Awards from the RUSDLT grant typically range from $50K to $1 million, with many applicants receiving anywhere between $50K and $500K. Approximately 120 grants are awarded each year, amassing to $23 million awarded overall. Application submission is typically open between April and mid-July for all eligible applicants.

Eligible applicants are defined as those who provide educational or healthcare services through telecommunications. Although almost any organization is qualified, the RUSDLT grant has strict rurality and poverty guidelines to score each organization. This eligible group includes:


  • Federally recognized indigenous tribes or tribal organizations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • For-profit businesses
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Most state and local government entities
  • Incorporated organizations
  • Consortia of other eligible entities (including behavioral health and substance abuse program providers, Pre-K-12, colleges and universities, libraries, workforce development offices, etc.)



RUSDLT grants are very beneficial, and also highly competitive, making them difficult to win for some. Applicants must be able to prove things like rurality, high economic need for projects, and innovative use of cost-effective distance learning equipment. They also require a 15 percent match for grant-only awards.

If you feel that your business, organization, institution is eligible, you can visit the USDA website to get a full breakdown of the program, its eligibility requirements, and even apply. Applied Global Technologies can help you with your eligibility profiles and many innovative distance learning technologies contact our team for help. Now that we’ve all brushed up on what a RUSDLT is let’s talk about the best ways to use these allocated funds.



How to Use RUSDLT Grant Funds

In its documentation, the United States Department of Agriculture outlines a list of approved ways RUSDLT Grant program funds can be used for capital expenditure. They are defined as such:

  • Broadband Transmission Facilities
  • Audio, Visual, and Interactive Video Equipment
  • Terminal and Data Terminal Equipment
  • Computer Hardware, Network Components, and Software
  • Inside Wiring and Similar Infrastructure That Further DLT Services
  • Acquisition of Instructional Programming That is a Capital Asset
  • Acquisition of Technical Assistance and Instruction for Using Eligible Equipment


However, there are several ways you can interpret these guidelines and implement them at your grant-eligible school, business, or organization. Don’t be afraid to let innovation take the reins. Here, we touch on a few approved uses that our team at Applied Global Technologies can help you implement. When collaborating in an educational setting, it is vital to have consistent and dependable audio, visual, and video solutions. Through our full-service AV integrator offerings, we expertly connect students and faculty. Be sure to contact our team for more information.


Broadband Transmission Facilities

A significant challenge for rural communities is the ability to reach others due to poor internet connection. Broadband represents various high-capacity transmission technologies like fiber optic cable, radio waves, wireless, and satellite. These technologies are responsible for transmitting data, voice, and video across long distances and faster than a traditional connection.

Because these areas historically have fewer cell towers and poorer internet quality than most larger cities in the U.S., connections are unstable. This makes it difficult for them to have a service that can support a sufficient number of users at one time or keeps up with ever-evolving technological needs. With help from RUSDLT Grant program funds, schools and healthcare systems can strengthen their connection and expand their reach.


Audio, Visual, and Interactive Video Equipment

Many Pre-K-12 and higher education institutions are interested in continuing to offer distance learning in post-COVID America. For people living in rural areas, it further highlights the need for better equipment. A school’s setup is integral in a student’s experience and even their engagement level.

The RUSDLT Grant program funds can be used to elevate your audiovisual and interactive video equipment, enriching a student’s educational experience by implementing better video conferencing apps and new learning technologies. It enables students to absorb the lesson better and retain what they learn. In the future, the learning technologies the grant program provides could help universities reduce tuition expenses, making education more affordable for all.


Terminal and Data Terminal Equipment

Data terminal equipment, or DTE, acts as a source or destination in digital communication. In everyday life, DTE can be computers, printers, routers, application and file servers, etc. All things an organization would need to connect to one another.

Data terminal equipment is responsible for converting information into signals and can reconvert the signals it receives. In the education sector, DTE obtained through RUSDLT Grant program funds can help establish a safe and secure connection while presenting an exceptional curriculum.


Computer Hardware and Software

Another expense that many people overlook is the cost of upgrading hardware and updating software. Some rural communities may not have the funding to keep up to date and stay on top of the ever-changing technological standards in education and medicine. This can lead to severely outdated and slow operating computers and medical equipment with limited capabilities. Investing your RUSDLT Grant program funds into repairing and upgrading your computer hardware and software is an excellent way to get your students and patients on the path to success.





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